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Duchess Sophie's secret second wedding dress you almost missed in unearthed photo

The Duchess of Edinburgh was pictured leaving her wedding reception with Prince Edward

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie in their wedding carriage
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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After Princess Kate iconically stepped out in a strapless Alexander McQueen second wedding dress and Duchess Meghan changed into a stunning halterneck Stella McCartney reception gown, you may be trying to recall exactly what the Duchess of Edinburgh wore on her big day with Prince Edward.

Unlike other royal brides, Sophie (née Rhys-Jones) made a much more subtle outfit change following her ceremony at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle in June 1999. The former PR boss exchanged vows in a silk organza coat dress designed by Samantha Shaw, decorated with over 325,000 pearls and crystal beads.

WATCH: Most jaw-dropping royal wedding dresses of all time

They added a touch of sparkle to the Duchess' V-neck, wide sleeves and skirt. Sophie finished off her bridal look with a full-length veil made of silk tulle and crystals, held in place by a diamond tiara from her late mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II's private collection.

The coat dress was decorated with over 325,000 pearls and crystal beads, some of which lined her V-neck, wide sleeves and skirt. She finished off her bridal look with a full-length veil made of silk tulle and crystals, held in place by a diamond tiara from her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth's private collection.

edward sophie bridal party
Sophie looked beautiful in a silk organza Samantha Shaw coat dress for her royal wedding

The Countess was later pictured leaving her wedding reception and heading on her honeymoon dressed in a similar V-neck gown, which appears to be the one she wore underneath her coat dress. Perhaps Sophie removed the top layer for the evening celebrations to reveal a fitted long-sleeved gown with a sparkly waist.

The striking resemblance between the two gowns could be why the outfit change went largely unnoticed, but her wedding dress designer later admitted it didn't come without its challenges.

Samantha told Tatler: "There was an evening dress under the coat dress, which was to remain super private for the evening dinner, and I had to get the fabric perfectly dyed to colour-match the beautiful stone of St George’s Chapel. Getting up there without being noticed was fun – and also a huge challenge." 

The couple were pictured waving to the cameras in the back seat of their limousine, with Edward still wearing his smart morning suit with an animal-print tie.

sophie edward wedding reception
The bride appeared to remove the coat to reveal a sparkly gown at her wedding reception

Sophie and Edward reportedly wanted a wedding without any ceremonial state or military involvement and a more relaxed dress code. The royals supposedly asked guests to wear evening gowns and smart attire but no headpieces, which was a surprising decision since they are normally customary.

However, some members of the royal family continued with tradition and rocked beautiful hair accessories. The Queen, for example, wore a lilac feathered fascinator that tied in with her lace dress, while the Queen Mother was pictured in a purple hat with bold feathered detailing.

Prince Edward announced his engagement to Sophie in January 1999 after presenting his bride-to-be with a two-carat central oval diamond flanked by two smaller, heart-shaped diamonds. Made by Asprey and Garrard, the ring is thought to be worth in the region of £105,000 ($149,000).

Speaking about his proposal at a press photocall in the grounds of St James's Palace in 1999, the 34-year-old Prince said: "It's impossible for anybody else to understand why it has taken me so long.

"But I don't think it had been right before and I don't think Sophie would have said yes. Hopefully, the fact that she has said yes means I've got the timing right."

Listen to HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast and find out which ghost haunts Prince William and Kate's home

RELATED: Princess Eugenie's rarely-pictured second wedding dress inspired by unexpected film star

LOOK: Celebrity brides' rarely-seen second wedding dresses

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